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Junior lifeguards take parents in 'Macho Man' competition

Castaic Lake Junior Lifeguards summer program impresses moms and dads with training results

Posted: August 7, 2009 9:53 p.m.
Updated: August 8, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Junior lifeguards circle around an instructor for a paddle-race event during their last day of training. The lifeguards competed in a 'run, swim, run' against family and friends to celebrate the completion of their training and the physical endurance it takes to complete the program.

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Junior lifeguards competed arm-to-arm against their moms and dads Thursday as they swam from one end of Castaic Lake to another.

"They call that the ‘Macho Man' - it's the combination of the run, swim, run that makes it challenging," said Manny Barrios, director of the Castaic Lake Junior Lifeguards summer program.

To complete their last day of the season, the junior lifeguards tested their skills against their parents' stamina in a competition that demanded running for three-fourths of a mile, split up into two separate races and divided by a 300-yard swim.

"I was getting tired; I had to go to the survival stroke," said Jason Ellwein, a Saugus father who went up against his daughter, Isabella.

"She beat me. She's well-trained and I'm out of shape," said Ellwein, who was impressed with the training his 10-year-old daughter has received through the program. "I thought she was going to wait for me, but she beat me."

Isabella said she didn't expect to beat her dad. Four weeks ago, she probably couldn't have, she said.

Isabella was one of about 400 junior lifeguards, ages 9 to 17, who took part in the summer program.

Barrios said the event's goal is to allow parents to "see how physically challenging and how much you need to rely on endurance to do all the physical activities the program has."

"Parents love it, and kids love making the parents hurt," Barrios said.

Mother Caradawn Holter of Valencia cheered on her husband and sons at the Lower Lake's shoreline.

"We're here because our sons just thought it would be beyond exciting if they beat their dad," said Holter, who had already seen her sons drip onto shore and awaited her husband's finish.

Father Randy Holter trekked onto shore with a look of personal victory that elicited laughs from family and friends.

"I told you he's a ham," said Caradawn Holter. "But he's not last and that makes him happy."

Holter said the physical demand and the family friendliness of the event was a "testimony" to the junior lifeguards program.

"These kids are really getting a great workout, but it's a good, healthy workout," she said.

Thirteen-year-old Sophie Fiscella didn't compete against her parents, but she wasn't surprised when she beat her boyfriend, Sjel Holter.

"I got fourth place," said Fiscella, of Valencia. "The first time (the course) is tough, but as you do it more often, it gets less difficult."

The evening ended with some awards of the season, a slideshow and recognition of the program's instructors.

"They couldn't do it if they weren't dedicated to the kids, program and making these kids' lives that much better," said Barrios of the 13 instructors who worked the program.

Barrios said he was sad to see the program come to an end.

"You get to bond with all the kids," Barrios said. "You see them year in and year out, but you have to wait until the next season to see them again.

"We're a tight family here."

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